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Cost to obtain this book: FREE! This one came through the wonderful book-swapping service that is PaperBackSwap.Com, and it was worth every penny. The four most absurd, anti-scientific, and outright insane works written by L. Ron Hubbard and published by Bridge Publications, Scientology's ego press, are All About Radiation, A History of Man, this book, and of course Dianetics. And thanks to PaperBackSwap, I now have two of these four! (I had All About Radiation a few years back but lost it in a mishap; eventually I'll come across another copy.)
Have You Lived Before This Life? is Hubbard's documentation of the proof of past lives and reincarnation: it's a series of forty-one delusionary "case histories" of past lives invented by Scientologists during the course of their E-meter auditing sessions. It's also got a coda by Hubbard entitled "The Phenomena of Death," which begins with a typically grandiose Hubbard statement: "We (the Church of Scientology) are actually the first people that do know a great deal about death. It is one of the larger successes of Scientology." He then imitates every single past-life and reincarnation believer by stating, "Basically, all that happens is that a separation occurs between the thetan and the body." Your soul leaves your body. Gosh, no one ever knew that before Hubbard arrived!
Oh, but then again, no one before Hubbard ever had clear, scientific proof of past lives. And the proof is here in these forty-one case histories – none of which have any kind of "scientific" data to back them up, other than the fact they are printed here in this book. (Then again, if you join Scientology and spend several thousands of dollars on the Key To Life Course, then you'll see the actual scientific data that proves the truth of these cases.) As Hubbard says in the introduction, "A Note On Past Lives: "Remember in reading these that this is the data that was given during processing. It is a scientific assessment of what the subjects said. It contains no evaluation of the truth or falsity of data." However, the data is true enough (according to Hubbard) that it indicates we have all lived many previous lives on many previous planets and galaxies. Most of the past lives detailed here seem to have occurred within the past five thousand years, though Case 34 is the famous one (quoted in Wikipedia) about a very happy being who strayed to the planet Nostra 23,064,000,000 (23 billion, 64 million) years ago – demonstrating to the reader that we have suppressed memories from past lives that existed in eras many times earlier than the estimated age of the Universe (which is a mere 13.5 billion years).
All this is presented as inescapable proof of past lives. Hubbard modestly provides an "overview" of past lives, while an anonymous appendix to the book congratulates Ron for unlocking the secrets of past life phenomena. Scientology teaches its practitioners that Hubbard's writing is absolute law, so for a Scientologist this is absolute proof! And for anyone else? If you can get through it, you may get an idea of how absurd life as a Scientologist can be.
But the truly sad part comes from the way Scientology uses the idea of "past lives" to hook you in. If you've read Dianetics and taken any of Scientology's courses, you'll know that the idea of Dianetic "therapy" involves using the E-meter to clear out the engrams (traumatic episodes) that your mind has built up over the course of your life. However, once you get into Scientology, you then learn that you have had past lives stretching back for millions, billions, and even trillions of years…and what's more, all of those past lives have engrams that need to be cleared out, too. So once you're done taking care of this life, you then need to take care of all those past lives with auditing…all of which costs money. And if Hubbard was right and we have experienced these past lives on other planets, then you will have to clear out those engrams in your next life when you come back as well.
Oh dear, I've just revealed the big secret of going OT (Operating Thetan level)! I guess I'll have to do my conditions…